The Devils welcomed the fans back to their arena for the first time in almost a year. Their recent problems scoring goals continued, which was unsurprising against Semyon Varlamov and the islanders.
Varlamov made 28 parades and came within 14 seconds of his fourth shutout, and the fiery islanders defeated the slumped Devils on Tuesday night 2-1 at Prudential Center.
« He’s a great player, » said Devils striker Miles Wood, whose 13.2-second goal prevented the islanders from scoring their second consecutive shutout. “He played very well tonight. We must certainly have more traffic ahead of them. This helps. But at the end of the day he was upside down doing a great job for him. “
The islanders, who are 9-2-2 in their last 13, got a shutout against the penguins against rookie Ilya Sorokin on Sunday. They came into the game with the third best goals in the NHL – against average.
« Both goalkeepers have been great for us all year so far and we expect them to be and we will be great before them, » said Islanders defender Nick Leddy.
Varlamov was at his best in the second period, stopping 13 power play shots in a period when the Devils overtook the Islanders 16-5. The devils had three of their four power games during that time.
The game remained goalless and rookie Oliver Wahlstrom broke through at the beginning of the third half with a nasty shot on the wrist. Anders Lee knocked on his own rebound just under seven minutes later.
Aaron Dell made 18 saves on his second start for the Devils, who lost six of seven. Pavel Zacha had caught his NHL-leading 10-game points streak.
« I think at some point you can no longer be satisfied with playing well and losing, » said Devils coach Lindy Ruff. « Determination must lead to more goals. »
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy last week gave fans permission to attend sports and entertainment events starting in March. Indoor venues with a capacity of 5,000 or more seats were allowed to have a capacity of 10 percent, which means 1,800 could take part in the game.
« It was great and there are also the cardboard cutouts that make it look kind of crowded let, « said Dell. « You can hear the fans and it’s great to have them there. So I was really excited. It was nice to have that presence again. »
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